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Should You Really Be A Lawyer?: The Guide To Smart Career Choices Before, During & After Law School [Paperback]

Deborah Schneider , Gary Belsky
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 2004 0940675579 978-0940675575
Are you making the right decision to get into--or remain--in law? Whether you're a prospective law student, a current law student, or even a practicing lawyer, the decision to enter--or remain--in law ranks among the biggest career decisions you'll ever make. From the latest research on decision-making, authors Deborah Schneider and Gary Belsky have written a unique career-building guide that will help you evaluate and answer the most basic question facing you now: Should you really be a lawyer?

Editorial Reviews


An inventive and informative book. Read it only if you care about your career. -- Kathy Morris, JD, author and legal career counselor

I wish more of our students and alumni could have read this book before they made their biggest career decisions. -- Former ass't dean, St. University School of Law

Should be required reading for every law school applicant and pre-law advisor. -- Ass't Dean, Villanova University School of Law

" ... A practical, non-judgemental road map for those who want to understand whether they are suited for the law, and what to do if they are not." --California Lawyer Magazine

"This book should be mandatory reading for pre-law students everywhere. It raises questions they should ask (but don't) before spending tens of thousands of dollars on a legal education." --Pre-Law Advisor/Stanford University

"We wish we could have read Should You Really Be a Lawyer BEFORE going to law school." --Law Library Journal

"A must-read if only because it raises important questions I have never seen in print." --Director, Alumni Career Services/Georgetown University Law Center

"A valuable guide for anyone considering going to law school, but especially for those bright liberal arts majors who find themselves in a panic after graduation." --The Washington Post

From the Publisher

Walk through any bookstore and check the sections on Reference, Careers or Graduate School. You find all sorts of books that can help you ace the LSAT, get into a good law school, succeed on law school exams, land a legal job, and then manage your career. But none of them can help you answer the most basic question: should you go into law at all? Schneider and Belsky's book is the first to help you decide whether to become a lawyer ... or whether to remain one ... and how to find the right career for you.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: LawyerAvenue Press (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940675579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940675575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What can/will you really do with your law degree? January 16, 2005
By jt
As its cover suggests, this book was written for the BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER (law school) folks. Although it will add value (and confirmation) to many people in the DURING and AFTER crowd, the book (I think) is most critical for those in the BEFORE crowd.

No one can argue with the book's observations that (a) law school is extremely expensive and (b) many (if not most) law students have no idea what attorneys really do day-to-day. Moreover, soon after law school, many graduates learn that (i) they do NOT like what attorneys really do day-to-day (often an odd mix of boring work and stressful consequences) and (ii) they NEED to be a "big law firm attorney" in order pay off their school debts. This realization is tough to digest (particularly since the student was told so many times in the past that "there is so much you can do with your law degree").

Although there certainly are "options" to the big law firm life (and this book is good at helping the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER reader to try to discover his/her options), there do not seem to be enough "real options" out there . . . given one's debt and the big law firm salaries. Thus, there is a sense of "I'm trapped."

It's true that with a lot of work (and a lot of sunk costs and lost time) one can find a "real option" and get out of the "trap" -- it is also true that some attorneys find an area of law and a law firm that they really do like or have a great "next step" that happens (and, yes, it is also true that all jobs probably "suck" in some way). However, rolling the dice with three years of your life and $100k plus (and lost income), is really pretty crazy -- and certainly not very "big firmmy" -- even though many (if not most) entering law students do seem to do this.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worth every penny January 11, 2006
This book was one of the most helpful books about law, law school and the legal profession I have come across. It forces you to ask yourself probing and challenging questions that get at the real reasons behind why you are considering law school. It also gave great information about the what the legal profession is like and how to explore it yourself. While cautionary in tone, it does assert that there are valid reasons for choosing the law and that if you explore yourself well enough you can make an informed decision one way or the other. It's a must buy for anyone considering law school. Before you plunk down $100,000 and three years of your life, use this book to make sure that it's worth it for you.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for applicants, students, and lawyers! February 17, 2005
If you are considering going to law school or a current law student or lawyer questioning your career decisions, this book provides exceptional guidance on making the right choices for you when it comes to a legal career. As a non-practicing lawyer who now works with students at a law school, I recommend this book to all students who are questioning whether law is really the best profession for them. The book avoids making judgments about the value of a legal education or career and instead poses questions and provides honest information which help people do the necessary soul searching (and reality checking) to make sure that they are pursuing a legal career for the right reasons. Being a lawyer is a great job, but it is not for everyone. This book will help applicants, students, and practicing attorneys figure out if they are on the right track sooner rather than later.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening book! July 26, 2006
How I wished a book like this would have been given to me when I was younger. Back then I briefly considered attending law school simply because I didn't know what else to do. I was a liberal arts major, with no clue as to what I should do next. Being that I come from a Chinese family, I was also pressured into becoming a lawyer for the money and prestige that the profession was suppossed to bring. Fortunately a good lawyer from the Chinese community came to my rescue and counseled my parents thus effectively changing their minds. Believe me, I was lucky as back then most people did not have such luxury.

Today however, you do. This book by Deborah Schnider is excellent in describing what being a lawyer is really like and helps cut through the indecision, confusion, misconception, fear and guilt about entering or leaving the profession. The only thing I warn you is that this book may not work on a person with a closed mind. I tried giving this book to a friend of mine who did go to law school, hated it, but is still a lawyer. He hates his job but doesn't dare consider leaving because his parents paid for his education and he doesn't dare want to disappoint them. Everytime I bring up the subject, we argue. Some people will never come around, but for those who are in serious doubt and wish to do something about it, this book is for you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest buy July 21, 2007
By m b
About the greatest thing about this book is cover which is even not that great. For someone who proclaims to have gone through law school as the author claims, the book is very poor in written form. The book also does a LOT of repeating and dressing up "facts" in a way that is often used by marketers to sell their product. Although there may be one or two good points in the book, most of it is common sense. Basically, it is an expensive way of telling you to ask yourself the questions as to whether or not you know what lawyers do and whether or not you have researched the field of law enough to have the confidence to head to law school. Like I said before, she (the author) has some valid points but everything in the book can be found online for free and is basic common sense. I would'nt suggest forking out the cash for this reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Comments
It is a good book. I consider it has good information.I would recommend it for those people interested in studying law.
Published 17 months ago by Federico Mock
3.0 out of 5 stars Badly Edited and Too Generic
I wouldn't say this book is over-negative about the profession of law, but it offers a decent dose of reality about the pros and cons of the legal career with comments from both... Read more
Published on November 1, 2010 by Schmendrick
1.0 out of 5 stars Of no help in answering its question
Exhaustion made me quit this book halfway, but that's more than enough reading to discover that its authors have embarrassingly little to say about the legal profession beyond the... Read more
Published on February 13, 2010 by CrunchyCookie
3.0 out of 5 stars Simple, but true
I can boil this book down to one thing: Do informational interviews with real attorneys in order to see if the law is right for you. Read more
Published on August 13, 2007 by Nyana Abreu Miller
2.0 out of 5 stars Is there anything positive in this book...
aside from the success stories of everyone who has left the legal profession? I appreciate some of the self-assesment tools, but the remainder of the book is filled with anecdotes... Read more
Published on April 3, 2007 by S. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Pondering Law School...
Two years ago I attended law school for a short period before quitting, and now I am interested in going back, but I wanted to evaluate my reasons for going back to make sure I was... Read more
Published on February 13, 2007 by Terry6008
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this 1st
Before going to law school you must read this book. This book really has the power to alter the course of your life.
Published on January 29, 2007 by César Chávez
5.0 out of 5 stars Expert Advice
As a 10 year lawyer, and former law school career counselor, I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone contemplating going to law school. Read more
Published on December 22, 2006 by C. J. Cohn Morros
5.0 out of 5 stars Should You Really Be A Lawyer?
This book is a wonderful resource for students in undergraduate college programs that may start out as law school bound, and realize within those 4-5 years that maybe they want to... Read more
Published on August 15, 2006 by April H. Lovegrove
4.0 out of 5 stars Who was this book written by?
Its a well rounded book and the information inside it was valid and thought provoking, but you wonder if the theme of the book is to dissuade potential attorneys.
Published on February 24, 2006 by Frequent Amazon User
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